Guantanamo prisoners now receiving COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) – Inmates at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center can now begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, a senior defense official told the Associated Press on Monday, a month later when the vaccination was planned Many Americans who were not offended are eligible to receive shots.

The new time begins for states with President Joe Biden’s deadline so that vaccines are available on Monday in the US, anyone 16 and older are eligible to sign up to get vaccinated and get into the virtual line.

The defense official said that all 40 people placed on a naval base in Cuba would be offered immunization to comply with legal requirements regarding treatment of prisoners and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Strict quarantine procedures had already sharply curbed activities at the base and halted legal proceedings for prisoners facing war crime lawsuits, including the September 11, 2001, attack.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to officially discuss the effort before the official announcement, the official said, “We do not want an outbreak of COVID on a remote island that will present challenges.”

It was announced in January that the military aimed to offer the vaccine to inmates drew widespread criticism, particularly among Republicans in Congress, when COVID-19 vaccines were being rolled out to soldiers and civilians just in Guantanamo and widely United States was not available.

Many Republican-backed Republican members had barred Guantanamo prisoners from receiving the vaccine, until all Americans had the opportunity to receive it.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the decision on Twitter. “Republic Republicans said on January 30,” President Biden told us that he would have a plan to defeat the virus on day one. 30

Although the decision to vaccinate inmates may still prove controversial, one important difference is that the vaccine is now more widely available, both on grounds and in half of all adults in the country throughout the United States. Less than one dose is received. .

At Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, 56% of the total population of about 5,700 people, a mix of military personnel, contractors and dependents, has been vaccinated and the shot is available to any adult who wants it, Don Grimes, a public The case stated that the officer for the base hospital.

About 1,500 people have been assigned to the task force running the detention center at the base. There are no known cases of COVID-19 among them, nor any prisoners.

Medical personnel have already discussed the vaccine with inmates. The military has not planned to disclose that officials choose to accept it, citing medical confidentiality rules.

Ramji said that at least some people placed on the grounds may have suspected this vaccine after being given their treatment for years by the US government, but others were eager to be inoculated and disappointed when they were in the initial attempt , Ramji said, a law professor at the City University of New York who represents the prisoners.

“Although the government has claimed in court for years that inmates receive comparable health care for soldiers on grounds, politics defeated the first vaccination effort,” Kasem said. “I’m relieved that reality is finally holding up to legal liability in a small way.”

The Biden administration announced in April that it could finally conduct a full review of detention center operations with the goal of closing the facility, which opened in January 2002 to catch suspects in relation to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. .

At its peak in 2003, the detention center at a naval base at the southeast tip of Cuba held about 680 prisoners, and it drew widespread condemnation on the treatment of the men there, without any charge.

Closing it has proved to be a challenge as the US has sought to keep some prisoners and prosecute them, but Congress has prevented anyone from transferring them to facilities inside the country for any reason.

Those still held there include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who, along with four others, faces trial on charges that include murder and terrorism on 11 attacks. The long-standing case remains in the pretrial phase, and the epidemic has resulted in no hearing for more than a year.


This story has been corrected to show that the vaccine is now available to people 16 and older in the US, to people 18 and older.

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